Should you neuter your dog or not?
What are the pros and cons of neutering dogs?
26 August, 2020 by
Should you neuter your dog or not?
Asa Gislason
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Dog neutering is a controversial topic among both dog owners and professionals. It is therefore important to carefully evaluate both the pros and cons of neutering dogs. That way you can take an educated decision if you should neuter your dog or not.

The pros and cons of neutering dogs are similar for both sexes, i.e. they have to do with breeding and the health and safety of the dog. However, there are some differences between the sexes so let’s look at each sex separately. 

The pros and cons of neutering female dogs

Pros

They will stop coming into season (heat) meaning:

Cannot become pregnant

No mess (usually twice a year for around 3 weeks at the time)

No unwanted male attention

Will not have false pregnancy

Pregnancy and birth carry some risk for both the mother and her puppies and complications during or after birth can be expensive (Vet fees)

Reduces the risk of females being stolen for breeding purposes

Spaying also has some health benefits:

The removal of the ovaries and uterus eliminates the risk of ovarian cysts, uterine infection and cancer of the reproductive tract 

May reduce the risk of developing breast cancer if spayed early on (UK study though judges the evidence for this weak and therefore not a sound basis for firm recommendations) 

Cons

All operations including anaesthetics have some risk involved

This is interfering with the natural reproduction cycle of the dog (raises the question of the humans right to do so though most agree that the risk of overpopulation outweighs this concern)

Not everyone agrees if spaying increases the risk of the bitch gaining weight when she gets older or if that is just the result of overfeeding or under exercising (she may eat the same amount but move less as she gets older)

The most serious cons however have to do with potential negative health implications:

There is increased risk of developing hemangiosarcoma (an aggressive malignant tumour of blood vessel cells)

Increased risk of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid glands)

Early spaying increases the risk of various health problems (the female seems to need the reproductive hormones for normal development of bones, joints and internal organs). For example, increased risk of:

Hip dysplasia and torn ligaments

Bone cancer (mainly in larger breeds)

Urinary incontinence in the later years









The pros and cons of neutering male dogs

Pros

Cannot breed, i.e. cannot impregnate female dog

May affect the dog’s behaviour, e.g. reduce (but not necessarily eliminate):

Roaming (they can smell female in heat long distances) 

Marking (leg-lifting)

Hypersexual behaviour (less humping)

Aggression (though more likely to be related to fear than testosterone level)

Less focus on other dogs (not constantly on a lookout for a potential mate or rival)

Neutering has some health benefits:

Reduces the risk of prostate problems

Removes the risk of testicular cancer

If the dog has retained testicles (have not dropped) there is significant increased risk of him developing cancer and neutering would eliminate this risk

Cons

The first three cons are the same as for female dogs:

All operations including anaesthetics have some risk involved

We humans are interfering with the natural reproduction cycle of the dog 

May increase the risk of the dog gaining weight when he gets older 

Changes the dog’s appearance, i.e. no testicles

The most serious cons have to do with potential negative health implications:

Increased risk of developing hemangiosarcoma (an aggressive malignant tumour of blood vessel cells)

Increased risk of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid glands)

May be increased risk of geriatric cognitive impairment (form of dementia) in neutered dogs

Early neutering increases the risk of various health problems (the dog seems to need the reproductive hormones for normal development of bones, joints and internal organs), e.g. increased risk of:

Hip dysplasia and torn ligaments

Bone cancer (mainly in larger breeds)

Neutering / spaying dogs will always be controversial topic so do your research on the pros and cons of neutering your dog and take your own decision based on what you believe is best for your dog. 


Should you neuter your dog or not?
Asa Gislason
26 August, 2020
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